Merritt Paulson says the combined operations of the Portland Beavers and a proposed MLS team will lose money until 2015 even with public funding of a new ballpark and a renovated PGE Park.
Owner Merritt Paulson says the combined operations of the Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and a proposed MLS team will lose money until 2015 even with public funding of a new ballpark and a renovated PGE Park .
Paulson is proposing a new ballpark for the Bevos, clearing the way for an expansion MLS franchise to play at a soccer-only PGE Park . Paulson would buy the MLS franchise for $40 million, contingent on the city agreeing to the facilities plan. The cost for both facilities would be $85 million, with funding coming from a variety of sources, including ticket and player-salary taxes.
A Portland task force charged with evaluating Paulson’s proposal grilled his representatives on the financial feasibility of this plan. They reported Paulson was looking at losing $1.8 million in 2010, but the losses would close until profitability was reached in 2015.
Paulson and his family are one of seven groups seeking an MLS expansion franchise for 2011. Portland is considered a soccer hotbed, but several good proposals have emerged for MLS officials; a Miami group has come through with a strong proposal, as has the owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps. Paulson needs a commitment from the city to renovate PGE Park for MLS officials to strongly consider his bid for a franchise.
Lost in all of this, to an extent, is what would happen to the Bevos once the team is displaced from PGE Park. Paulson has proposed a new ballpark in the Lents area, but that’s failed to attract much enthusiasm from local residents. A more desirable site near Memorial Coliseum has been proposed to more acclaim, but after the city incurred millions in losses for the last renovation of PGE Park when Portland Family Entertainment collapsed, anything proposed by Paulson will be heavily scrutinized.